Friday, July 19, 2024

Williamsburg wellness center owner indicted with $2 million health care fraud

(WYDaily Media)

WILLIAMSBURG — A Williamsburg wellness center owner was indicted by a federal grand jury for defrauding Virginia Medicaid and other health care programs out of more than $2 million.

According to a Friday, May 7 announcement from the Department of Justice, 45-year-old Williamsburg resident, Maria Kokolis, is the owner and operator of Pamisage, Inc. The center was billed for having integrated behavioral health and medicine that claimed to specialized in weight management.

“The defendant allegedly defrauded health care programs and the government by submitting false claims and engaging in multiple overbilling schemes,” said Raj Parekh, acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). “EDVA remains committed to holding accountable anyone who undermines the integrity of our health care system, including the Virginia Medicaid program, which is designed to subsidize critical health care coverage for those who need it most.”

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The announcement states that Kokolis received a total of $2,189,342 in fraudulent health care benefit program reimbursements, part of which came from the U.S. government. 

In an alleged scheme that began in or around 2018 and continued through February 2020, Kokolis overbilled various health care benefit programs and the Virginia Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid).

She allegedly charged 45 minutes to an hour of face-to-face psychotherapy services for non-comparable services, including sending messages through the company’s smartphone app or monitoring a client’s data.  

Kokolis allegedly billed these services for times when she was out of the country on vacation and when clients were out of state or sick in the hospital.

According to the indictment, the alleged overbilling became so extensive that, on 332 separate occasions, Kokolis allegedly billed for services that exceeded 24 hours in a single day.

The indictment alleges that Kokolis used the names, Medicaid ID numbers and other identifying information of clients while submitting these false claims. 

Kokolis has been charged with health care fraud and aggravated identity theft. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each health care fraud count, as well as a mandatory sentence of two years in prison for each aggravated identity theft count.

WYDaily will continue to keep you informed on this developing story.


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